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Can an architectural graduate move into garden design?


I am a Part 1 RIBA architecture graduate and I recently helped my mother with some design ideas for redesigning her garden.  The landscape contractors who took on the job mentioned that I had done a very good job in redesiging a difficult space.

This led me to think how much I enjoy nature, creating habitats for wildlife and outdoor spaces.  I am now thinking about a career in garden design but I'm not sure what course would be best for me!   As an architectural graduate I already have skills in CAD, presentation and spatial design but I have very little knowledge of horticulture.  I used to work in marketing too, so I am experienced in business and working with clients.  

Any help, advise or course/college recommendations are very welcome.

Kentish Maid



  • MuddyForkMuddyFork North HampshirePosts: 435

    Why not start with looking at the Royal Horticultural Society website as they do plenty of courses and recommend others.

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    I seem to remember this has come up in the past-perhaps this might help?


  • Muddyfork thank you for replying. Amongst others I have already looked at the rhs website but it seems I do not fit into a specific study route. I was told by a college that unless I do the BSc in Garden Design I cannot legally be recognised as a Garden Designer.  I feel I already have the skills and experience to design space and would like to find a course that can help build my knowledge and confidence in plants and knowing how to include this into a garden design.  If anyone can recommend a course that would be great!

  • Sotongeoff - Thanks for the link.  I just contacted the rhs careers number but unfortunately they no longer give careers advise anymore - they explain that they're website content is sufficient.  Frustrating!!


  • I would contact a local garden design company and ask for their help with work experience and qualifications.

    I did the RHS Certificate in Horticulture at Bicton College and it gave me a lot of the skills you are looking for but I would still need to do a garden design course for any official recognition.

    I would also love to be a garden designer but the work seems very slim on the ground at the moment . I have also done quite a bit of work with family and friends and like you received plaudits but this seems to count for nothing with any of my local firms. 

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.

  • MuddyForkMuddyFork North HampshirePosts: 435

    I didn't realise that there was something called a "legal Garder Designer".   There must be a governing body that oversees registration so maybe they could help.  Just flick thru our local mag and none of the adverts for garden design give an indication that they are trained or legal. 

  • Thanks Christopher2.  It's good to hear about your personal experience of the profession, the course you took and where you studied.  Will keep you posted!

  • Good advise Muddyfork - will definietly look into governing body. Thanks!

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